Toronto’s lobbyist registry shows Las Vegas-based casino giant Caesars Entertainment has registered four lobbyists, including former City Councillor Paul Sutherland, to promote the company’s interest in developing a US billion resort casino in the city.
“We believe we could present a project that would benefit the city, that would grow tourism and that would be a part of the business community, not come in and try to replace (businesses),” said Jan Jones, the company’s executive vice president of governmental affairs.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has said that companies have until midsummer to voice their interest in building a casino in the province.
Toronto is the province’s first choice for most prospective operators, among them Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International and Canada’s Onyx Group, which owns the Tropicana Las Vegas.
Lobbyists representing MGM have already met with Mayor Rob Ford and several councillors.
Said Councillor Doug Ford, “You say we’ve struck gold and all of a sudden you’ll have every gold miner in North America come.”
They won’t be coming to the city’s waterfront Ontario Place redevelopment district, however. The provincial government, which owns the site, home to an aging theme park, won’t consider the location after an advisory panel on the district’s future said a casino isn’t a good fit. The panel, led by ex-Progressive Conservative leader John Tory, is tasked with coming up with a plan to make Ontario Place over. The park has been closed until 2017 to save money.